Winter Is Here

For the next six Sundays, I will be unavailable starting at 7:00pm.  The show doesn’t air until 9:00, you say?  Yes, I know, but I need emotional time to prepare for each airing.  THE NIGHT KING IS THROUGH THE WALL AND EVERYBODY IS GOING TO DIE!!!

Not my most traditional Thursday post… but I’m too excited to write anything else!

Superhuman Disaster by Kristen Brand

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A hero awakens.

Retired superhero David Del Toro has just woken from a coma—or at least, that’s what the black-market doctor watching over him in an off-the-grid safehouse says. The doctor can’t tell him what happened, but that’s alright. Dave figures he can just ask his family. Except they’re nowhere to be found, their phone numbers are all disconnected, and when he goes home, he finds a hole the size of an elephant smashed into the front of the house and nothing inside.

A villain returns.

Frantic to find his family, Dave calls on all the contacts he made over his superhero career. He learns that his wife has apparently gone back to being a supervillain, and his former sidekick has become a rogue vigilante. Something rotten is going on in the DSA, the law enforcement agency that handles superhuman crime. What does it have to do with Dave’s family? And with such a late start, still suffering the aftereffects of the coma, does Dave have any hope of stopping it?

 

What the perfect end to an amazing series!  Let me start off by saying that for those of you who haven’t started this 5-book adventure, the first, Hero Status, is only 99 cents on Amazon!   It’s a phenomenal superhero series that you can read the ENTIRE series for only $12.95!!  That’s five quality books  for the price of one from the book store.  For those of you that have had the amazing chance to read The White Knight and Black Valentine series, let’s get started with my review…

I’m going to be very careful to not spoil anything so I’m going to start with this question: Do you know all of those amazing minor characters laced throughout the books that you’ve been waiting for their “HELL YEAH” moment?  For me in particular, I think a note on every book I gave to Kristen was “can I please see more bad assery from Elisa and Julio?”  I knew they were bad asses; they knew they were bad asses; Kristen knew they were bad asses; but, it wasn’t yet their moment.  Well, folks, their moments finally happened, and I could not be happier with the results!  Without creating a Mary Sue, Elisa is an insanely strong vigilante in the making – and you can bet I’ll be nudging Kristen in the direction of her getting at the very least a solo book in the future because she’s just too great of a character to pass up.  Also, leave a comment below if you think Elisa what ‘super’ route she’ll take in the future: superhero, supervillain, or vigilante?  Now also feels like a great time to bring up how amazing of a villainous comedic relief Eddy was, popping in to sprinkle some evil humor along the way.  I would write a novel myself if I went into all the fun character moments, but they include great moments from some of my favorite characters like Freezefire, Blue Sparrw, Agent Lagarde, and Moreen.

In addition to amazing character development and their powerful moments, the plot was filled with incredible action.  The fighting scenes are so well-written and have the added bonus that we get to see more fights from different powers, adding in different fun tidbits we haven’t had a chance to see yet.  Fun new villains fights include an evil sentient mist and beefed up No-Men, but I should leave a few surprises.  Really, this book wrapped up Dave and Val’s stories beautifully, but definitely left the world still in need of some superheroes.

Did I also forget to mention we finally have the answer to how Dr. Sweet has stayed alive?

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For those of you craving more of Dave and Val, you can buy The Best Man: A Superhero Short Story to read about their wedding for just 99 cents on Amazon or read a longer version of the prequel for FREE on her website here!

The Witch’s March: History Fact #3

 During World War I, or The Great War, the American military created two combat divisions for African Americans.  One, the 92nd Division, was composed of draftees and officers.  The second, the 93rd Division (later known as the Harlem Hellfighters, was mostly made up of National Guard units from cities like New York, Chicago, and Cleveland.

The 92nd Division faced one loss on the field that the world used as confirmation blacks weren’t fit to serve their country in war.  That was until the Harlem Hellfighters’ success.  When they returned to New York City after their victories at war, according to the Tribune, Never have white Americans accorded so heartfelt and hearty a reception to a contingent of their black country-men” and “the ebony warriors” felt it.

Although not introduced until The Witch’s March resolution, Martin Fox served as a Harlem Hellfighter.  One of Hattie’s love interests, he fought during the final Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Chapter 31: What The Bachelor Teaches Us About Romantic Plot Lines

I was supposed to get this blog post out weeks ago, but life doesn’t really account for my plans. While my health is something I’d like to continue to keep private, just know I’m not not posting just because I won’t. It’s because I can’t. I’ve missed more work these past few weeks than I’d ever like to, but enough about me. Let’s get into the post.

This season of the Bachelor was “the most dramatic yet”, and I have to say that Colton is possibly my favorite Bachelor of all time. Granted, I’ve only been watching since Ben so other than Ben himself, my options are admittedly very limited… but it wasn’t an ‘you’re the least annoying Bachelor’. I really genuinely liked him, and that’s why I’m writing this post to use his televised love story to help authors write a better love story.

Let’s start at the most logical place: the beginning. To be honest, I was confused at Colton’s methods. Where was my dramatic two-on-one between Queen Demi and Tracey or Courtney? Why did Cassie not get mentioned more than once until she went on her one-on-one or suddenly everyone decided her and Caelynn weren’t ready for marriage?

All the girls talked about the other girls, but instead of coming in to attack the accused, he listened to their side of the story. Although I’m not sure if it was the best way, he had Onyeka and Nicole sit down and hash it out right in front of him so he could decide what to believe. That was our first hint this Bachelor would be different.

But so how can he help us write romantic plot lines? Really, it’s not until the end of the season that I want to make my point. More often than not, a book or series will have more than one love interest – often at most a love triangle, though, so the Bachelor kind of increased that ratio by thirty. Still, you have the main character tried to decide who he or she really loves.

Colton presented a unique opportunity for us authors: write one love interest to be best for the character and another best for the plot. Tayshia/Hannah G made the most sense for the series’s story that it sells every season, but Cassie was the best choice for the ‘character’.

As the author, it’s our job to provoke emotions in our readers. Too often in literature, the standard is to choose the couple that the most readers supported. You painted the perfect picture of why the couple was meant to be together from the first page they were written together, and when they did live ‘happily ever after’, the readers were left with the safe satisfaction that love stories were supposed to make sense from the beginning to the end.

But, how often is that really the case? I’m not saying don’t put the sexual attraction between the two. I’m jump to the other side of the fence (lol) and do the hate-to-love trope that I myself am guilty of enjoying. Sometimes, love doesn’t make sense until it does.

Now, the Bachelor edited the story they wanted us to see – apparently she was writing from the beginning that she thinks she loves him, but her mind didn’t agree. That’s another interesting thought – what point of view is your story being written? Does your main character see the truth, or is the love interest hiding their truth feelings? What does your character see versus other people? How does that affect your main character? Now, you have two advantages here over the Bachelor. 1) You’re characters are always mic’ed. 2) You’re not trying to balance thirty people in the same romantic plot. You have more time to spend developing little moments between the characters in the grand scheme of the central plot.

The last thing I wanted to point out was how Colton did the fence jump. It has two possibilities of negative limelight. The first is that if it was a woman doing the same, she would be perceived as desperate or clingy. The second is that an ongoing discussion in feminism is to respect the “no.” Earlier in the season, we even listened to one of the contestants share a heartbreaking story of sexual assault.

This is where we as authors must draw the line. If we romanticize toxic masculinity, we’re slowing down progress. Portray toxic relationships as toxic. But, that’s not what Colton did.

His situation wasn’t, “She doesn’t love me, but if I just continuously pursue her against her wishes, I can change her mind.” His situation was, “I can clearly see that she wants to continue this relationship [despite everything the cameras showed. Remember, they were un’miced for most of their date in Thailand since they were in the water. He’s said in interviews that was when he first realized how much she challenged him] but is too scared to act on it while there are still cameras.” There’s a difference in writing about a guy willing to do the work to get the girl, and a guy chasing a girl that doesn’t want him.

What I really want to drive home, though, is the interesting complications you can add through the romantic interest not fitting in with the plot. Rather than rely fully on the plot, let your characters guide it. If your character is the type like Chris Soules, who would rather follow the plot than the character – write it (we all see how that turned out). But, if your character is the type like Colton, who would chuck the plot if it meant losing a character – write that. Not to say that’s your only two options, but find how your characters’ love can enhance the plot past the first dimension.

#TBT: The Time the Floridian Saw Snow

This is me about on year ago – when I still had long and brown hair.  This is from my trip to Oregon to visit my aunt and cousins before I started my first big kid job as a Consultant.  Well, that’s not my job anymore, but I’m excited to say I’m able to go back for my cousin’s graduation this year!  Just booked the ticket!

As most of you don’t know, my cousin Jen is called my “mini-me” by all of our parents.  Not only do we share a first initial and a middle name (her mom stole it from my mom) but we also have weirdly similar personalities.  I might have to wait til June to go, but least I won’t be dying from frostbite.

No, this was not my first time seeing snow.  Yes, I still fell every couple feet because this sheet of white was s-l-i-p-p-e-r-y